Renita Miller, dean of Berkeley College at Yale University and a former director of studies at Princeton, has been named associate dean for access, diversity and inclusion at Princeton University’s Graduate School. Her appointment is effective July 16.
Miller will oversee the Graduate School’s efforts to enhance the diversity of the graduate student body and to foster a supportive and inclusive community for all graduate students. She worked at Princeton from 2013 through 2015 in a number of academic and administrative roles.
“Renita Miller combines exemplary leadership and administrative skills with real empathy and human insight,” said Sarah-Jane Leslie, dean of the Graduate School and Class of 1943 Professor of Philosophy. “Enhancing and supporting the diversity of Princeton’s graduate student body is one of the Graduate School’s most important challenges, and I have every confidence that Renita will be outstanding in this essential role.”
In her new role, Miller will work with academic departments to increase the access, retention and success of historically underrepresented graduate students, including racial and ethnic minorities, women, first-generation graduate students, low-income students, LGBTQ students, and others. She also will partner with campus offices to develop mentoring, professional development and social engagement programs for graduate students.
“Princeton is an amazing institution, and I am so excited and honored to join the incredible Graduate School team,” Miller said. “The need to deeply engage all facets of diversity, access and inclusion at the graduate level is central to a thriving graduate school community."
At Yale, Miller serves as the chief academic officer for the approximately 400 students who live in Berkeley College, one of the school’s 14 residential colleges. She supervises all aspects of academic programming and policies; manages the college’s staff; provides academic and personal counseling to students; and oversees faculty advisers and the college advising system.
Miller also is a lecturer in Yale’s Department of Political Science, teaching the course “Race, Representation and Education Policy.” Her research focuses on understanding the influence of race and gender in political institutions.
Previously at Princeton, Miller was director of the Graduate School’s Princeton Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (PSURE). The program brings underrepresented undergraduates from across the country to Princeton’s campus during the summer to learn about doctoral studies. The students are mentored through research projects that illuminate the rigors of independent research required of those seeking doctoral degrees.
“Princeton is a special community where the aims and initiatives toward diversity, access and inclusion are not centered on one individual,” Miller said. “I am looking forward to collaborating on strategic initiatives and programs with the many incredible students, faculty and administrators who are currently contributing to an inclusive Graduate School community.”
For two years Miller was director of studies at Princeton’s Forbes College, where she oversaw academic advising for undergraduates, worked with faculty academic advisers, and developed intellectual and cultural programming for the residential college.
She also was a faculty lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program. She served on a number of University committees, including the Special Taskforce for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and advised student groups such as the Princeton Perspective Project and the Hidden Minority Council.
“In my previous positions at Princeton, I always felt like my voice mattered, and this new role allows me to support graduate students as they, too, find and express their voice in academia and the Princeton community,” Miller said. “There are many factors that attracted me to the Graduate School position, but perhaps the most salient reasons were grounded in my passion and commitment around the critical importance of representation, community-building and inclusion in higher education.”
Miller has also taught at Rice University and Texas A&M University. She has been recognized for teaching excellence and has presented her research on the roles of African American and Latino legislators, women in politics, and identity, gender and representation, at academic conferences and workshops.
Her experience includes work as an education consultant and research fellow at the Project for Equity, Representation, and Governance, The Kinder Institute of Urban Research, and the nonprofit organization Education Pioneers.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baylor University and her master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Rice University with a concentration in public policy, racial and ethnic politics and state politics.